Columbus, Ohio (AP) -- Early childhood education programs such as public preschool are slated to see large cuts in Ohio because of the state's budget crunch.
Cuts to the programs, as approved by the Ohio house, would amount to $244 million from current funding levels.
Early childhood funding increased by $270 million in the current budget.
Advocates say the budget plan marks a reversal of priorities and will shortchange children at the most important point in their development.
But State Sen. John Carey, the republican chairman of the finance committee, says the state simply has no money to increase funding for programs.
Lawmakers will likely have to cut at least $2 billion from the overall budget plan passed by the house.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)